Experimentation is part and parcel of deriving full enjoyment from marijuana use. This is why cannabis users sometimes branch out and try new things. From kief to concentrates, there is always a different experience waiting for you.
This mindset has led to some bong users wondering whether they should try an alternative to water.
However, this falls very much into the ‘don’t try this at home’ category. It seems as if such individuals are unaware of the importance of water. They seem to think that any liquid will do. Some users don’t put any liquid in their water pipes!
This article shows the importance of water in a bong and the dangers associated with other substances.
Why Do You Need Water in a Bong?
The fact that bongs are often called ‘water pipes’ is a pretty big clue! The process of burning cannabis leads to the decarboxylation of the material. This means the heat activates the cannabinoids you seek, such as THC and CBD. However, the combustion process also results in the creation of tar, hot smoke, and ash.
For a long time, anti-cannabis campaigners claimed that marijuana smoke was more carcinogenic than tobacco smoke. A study published in the Harm Reduction Journal in 2005 investigated the theory. It found that cannabis and tobacco smoke were NOT equally carcinogenic.
THC inhibits the enzyme necessary to activate some of the carcinogens found in smoke. However, marijuana smoke still produces cancer-causing agents, just not as many as tobacco smoke.
In general, cannabis smoke produces polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). You don’t want them in your lungs! There is a suggestion that tobacco smokers who use a water pipe have lower cancer incidences than cigarette smokers.
Filtration & Cool Smoke
What the bong does is cool the cannabis smoke immediately. How does it achieve this feat? By passing it through water. The result is a much smoother smoking experience. The water also filters out ash that could otherwise get inhaled. Crucially, the water also filters tar. This is one of the reasons why bong water ultimately turns a nasty brown color.
Of course, you need to throw away dirty bong water regularly and replace it with clean water. Otherwise, you’ll inhale horrible tasting smoke. It will taste like disgusting resin, and you might feel like throwing up.
Some people try to use their bong without water. It seems as if the water in bongs can reduce cannabis’ THC. Therefore, in theory, you need more cannabis to get stoned. However, using a waterless bong results in the direct inhalation of smoke. It will feel extremely hot and could irritate and damage your lungs. It also greatly increases the risk of a coughing fit.
Anecdotal reports of using a bong without water should serve as a warning. You could experience a severe sore throat for several days.
Therefore, trying to use a bong without water is a foolish endeavor. However, can you substitute it for a different liquid? Let’s check out some common alternatives. Not all of them are bad.
1 – Wine
Bizarrely, this is considered one of the best alternatives to water in bong use. Proponents say it provides an incredible flavor combination. There are even suggestions regarding the best wine to use! Several websites claim that a medium-bodied red wine is a viable option. You are supposed to choose a relatively low-alcohol wine as it makes a good solvent.
Don’t do it! Inhaling alcohol fumes is toxic. Some people even use a spirit like vodka! Aside from damaging your lungs, there are other dangers.
Primarily, the combination of alcohol and combustion never ends well. Also, terpenes and cannabinoids are more likely to dissolve in alcohol than in water. Therefore, you are risking your health for no good reason. Well, unless your mission is to win a Darwin Award.
2 – Fruit Juice
Another popular alternative is fruit juice. On the face of it, this seems like a far better option than an alcoholic beverage. In fairness, that’s because it is. Cranberry juice is a particularly interesting choice. Users add it to their bongs at room temperature or add ice to benefit from a cooling effect. Anecdotal reports say that the acidity in the juice helps keep the bong cleaner for longer.
Other juice flavors to consider include orange, mango, apple, and strawberry. Gatorade is another championed option. Once again, you can benefit from subtle flavors, which are generally more apparent while inhaling.
On the plus side, fruit juice won’t ruin your lungs or make you sick like an alcoholic beverage. However, acidic fruit juice will taste strange in conjunction with your cannabis. Also, you won’t taste many of the weed’s flavors. Also, you need to clean your bong regularly due to the substance’s high sugar content. Otherwise, your device gets sticky and deteriorates.
3 – Soda Water with Lime
This liquid is by far the best option of the three. Users say that they use chilled, fresh, and bubbly water as it offers the best effect. You might find that the first inhale tastes fresh and crisp. The carbonation could provide a pleasant effect as the smoke enters the mouth. Anecdotal evidence also says that chilled soda water is better than its room temperature equivalent.
Soda water with lime is likely safe in a bong when used in moderation. However, you pay extra money for this product, on top of the cost of weed.
Final Thoughts on Only Using Water in Your Bong
We really shouldn’t have to outline the dangers of using alcoholic beverages as a replacement for bong water. First of all, you end up inhaling dangerous fumes. There is also a possibility of the substance going on fire!
Fruit juice is safer but will likely stain and possibly damage your bong. Soda water with lime offers a luxurious experience if you want to treat yourself.
However, stick with plain old water when using your bong. Actually, use ice water instead. It does a great job of cooling the smoke and offers a crisp taste.